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 Post subject: Dantalian no Shoka
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2011, 3:36 pm 
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The Mystic Archives of Dantalian or Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian

Originally a Light Novel. Been adapted into a manga and now an anime by Gainax. 2 episodes out so far.

Hugh Anthony Disward inherits his grandfather's mansion and book collection after his death and is tasked to take care of a certain Dalian which he first assumes is a pet, but later discovers to be a mysterious bookworm of a girl with a sharp tongue. It is eventually revealed that she is not what she seems to be, but a gateway to a 'library' of books with immense power. He discovers that his grandfather was searching for and sealing these books of 'demons' with Dalian and decides to continue where his grandfather had left off.

So you got a pretty basic premise, guy meets mysterious girl. Contracts are made, there are things to be done. It has probably been done so many times that there is a mould for it somewhere.

What sets this aside are the leading characters.

Hugh Anthony Disward, or just plain Huey which he goes by is different from the usual leads who gets landed in these premises. First of all he is competent, has a backbone and thinks for himself which sets him like a big leap above whiny kids like Yuji Sakai(Shakugan no Shana). And upon being first attacked by a magical knife thrower in his first fight, he grabs the heroine to cover, pulls out a damn revolver and shoots it in the head(and if certain male leads I'm not gonna name were in that predicament they'd probably dodge awkwardly and run around while being verbally abused by the heroine). Pretty calm and level headed. Capable protagonists are nice to have around.

Then we have Dalian. Usually we'd be treated to some annoying little girl voiced by Kugimiya Rie and that is when we just groan at that pattern and wonder why they keep doing it. But thankfully Dalian breaks free from the pattern first by being voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro. Although that isn't the main thing. Dalian is like the right amount of proud. She isn't an exaggerated tsundere. While she can be crass and harsh, she still explains where she comes from and doesn't go on random unbridled rage fits like most heroines in that role. Her tongue is sharp but she doesn't attempt to stab you with every sentence and uses it within reason. She has the elements of the tsundere heroine but it is all balanced out nicely rather than taken to the usual stupid heights. I guess she is what you get when you take the Shana-type heroine and suddenly make her reasonable. If I had to compare Dalian to another character, I guess Horo from Wolf and Spice would be a good comparison somewhat.

Also Huey isn't afraid to tease Dalian. So you don't have the usual guy is a doormat while the girl stomps all over him relationship. All in all they have a more mature pair dynamic. The plot so far anyway is Huey and Dalian investigating and dealing with stray demon books, with Huey using Dalian's books when necessary.

The setting is.. late 19th century ish I'd wager. You got ye olde cars and planes, but we got earls and dresses still so it should be around there. And I sorta like that setting I guess. Although I think there was reference to a war or something so it may be as late post WW1, but so far nothing has been specifically mentioned about the setting or whether it is even regular old Earth we're talking about. I probably wouldn't think too much about it(although I think I already did).

The animation is good, the character designs are nice. I guess my qwip with Episode 1 was when after Huey makes a contract with Dalian and thus gains the ability to take these demon books out of her and unleash their power. The way they portray it basically has Huey read a really goddamn long mess of a passage, which is essentially just magic-babble rather than anything particularly meaningful and it drags on way too long. It is thankfully a lot shorter and less awkward in the 2nd episode.

The series is slated for 13 episodes. The light novels are at 8 volumes and still going so this will definitely be an incomplete adaptation. I'd wager we'd be left with an open ending with a potential sequel.

Still I like the two main characters a lot and this was definitely one of the series that left an impression of the new season.

As far as sub availability goes, there are the net stream rips which are pretty bad quality(640x360) and HD subs by a number of groups. Some of the slower groups like Hatsuyuki do release a 704x400 avi. Although if 720p HD is too much for older machines, they should be able to handle the 480p mkv which is a decent step up from the ye olde avi. I generally skip the net stream rips and wait a bit for the 720p subs by Commie.

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 Post subject: Re: Dantalian no Shoka
PostPosted: July 31st, 2011, 6:11 am 
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This sounds interesting as well. I'll make a note of it.

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
upon being first attacked by a magical knife thrower in his first fight, he grabs the heroine to cover, pulls out a damn revolver and shoots it in the head

"It"?

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
we'd be treated to some annoying little girl voiced by Kugimiya Rie and that is when we just groan at that pattern and wonder why they keep doing it. But thankfully Dalian breaks free from the pattern first by being voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro.

Kugimiya Rie
Oh, I see, Sabato-chan from Bokusatsu Tenshi... hm, but she does have decent voice acts in her portfolio, so I wouldn't say she only did annoying voices.

Sawashiro Miyuki
Ah, Serizawa Akane (Pani Poni Dash)... and Petit Charat (Digi Charat) and Suruga Kanbaru (Bakemonogatari) have the same voice? I was not aware of that stretch. :D

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
The setting is.. late 19th century ish I'd wager. You got ye olde cars and planes, but we got earls and dresses still so it should be around there.

The first cars beyond sails and steam appeared in the late 19th century alright, the Wright Bros. flight at Kitty Hawk was in 1903... late Victorian Age we could call it then. Sounds like a costume party. :?

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
there was reference to a war or something so it may be as late post WW1, but so far nothing has been specifically mentioned about the setting or whether it is even regular old Earth we're talking about.

Which means that our Japanese friends mixed "romantic" elements of the "belle epoch" to create a certain underlying atmosphere. :sweat:

Storm_Shinobi wrote:
this will definitely be an incomplete adaptation. I'd wager we'd be left with an open ending with a potential sequel.

I definitely dislike the idea to make an Anime just for the profit before the original story is finished... it makes the whole thing premature and often less enjoyable than it could be.

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 Post subject: Re: Dantalian no Shoka
PostPosted: August 7th, 2011, 5:19 pm 
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So much anime these days are adaptations of have-yet-to-be-finished stuff that it has become a fact of life or something.

Light novels and manga can go for years and years without an end in sight though, so generally they prefer to strike while something is at its popularity peak.

I used to even avoid incomplete adaptations but now I'm sorta fine as long as they don't do a crap pull of an original ending.

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